GOD: The Only Sensible Choice For Pope Is Sly Stone



MELODY MAKER ’74: How big is your group at present … “Nine people.” Tell me something about the bass player… “That’s me. I play bass on all my records. I play most everything on all my records. I just overdub everything.” Wouldn’t the group ever like to be on the record with you … “Sometimes they’re on the record also, but they feel good about it. They like it this way and they’re pretty honest about what they like. “I’ve recorded like this ever since the Stand album, ever since Dance To The Music, I guess.” Have you ever felt like playing bass on stage… “Sometimes I do.”

Kathy, Sly’s fiancĂ©e, chipped in here. “It’s in his heart. He plays it so good that he’s like to play everything on stage if he only could. He’s only one man but he has a million thoughts.”Do you get bored with always playing the very familiar material like Dance and Higher… “No. They like it and they keep on liking it and you gotta keep telling people you like it, too. I love every period of my career.” Where do you write … “My songs come from environments. I just go about my day and as things come to me, I write them down. I write on the toilet ‘cos no one bothers me there.” Are you trying to change your image by getting married and releasing slower material. Is the image mellowing these days… “I’m not trying to. Vibes just leave me. I’m still as crazy as I always was, if crazy is the right word.” Will you actually turn up for shows… “I won’t ever be predictable.” MORE

ALL MUSIC GUIDE: Sly & the Family Stone harnessed all of the disparate musical and social trends of the late ’60s, creating a wild, brilliant fusion of soul, rock, R&B, psychedelia, and funk that broke boundaries down without a second thought. Led by Sly Stone, the Family Stone was comprised of men and women, and blacks and whites, making the band the first fully integrated group in rock’s history. That integration shone through the music, as well as the group’s message. Before Stone, very few soul and R&B groups delved into political and social commentary; after him, it became a tradition in soul, funk, and hip-hop. And, along with James Brown, Stone brought hard funk into the mainstream. the Family Stone‘s arrangements were ingenious, filled with unexpected group vocals, syncopated rhythms, punchy horns, and pop melodies. Their music was joyous, but as the ’60s ended, so did the good times. Stone became disillusioned with the ideals he had been preaching in his music, becoming addicted to a variety of drugs in the process. His music gradually grew slower and darker, culminating in 1971’s There’s a Riot Going On, which set the pace for ’70s funk with its elastic bass, slurred vocals, and militant Black Power stance. Stone was able to turn out one more modern funk classic, 1973’s Fresh, before slowly succumbing to his addictions, which gradually sapped him of his once prodigious talents. Nevertheless, his music continued to provide the basic template for urban soul, funk, and even hip-hop well into the ’90s. MORE